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Old 11-23-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


My dad calls yesterday and says that some of teh outlets in his house arne't working. I went over and had a look and he has a circuit that has 3 wall outlets and a ceiling fan that don't work. Weird thing is that two ceiling lights and 2 outlets are working on the circuit. There are no GCFI's on this circuit!

If the actual breaker was bad my thinking is that none of the parts of the circuit would be working. But with some of the circuit working and part of it not working where should I begin troubleshooting? Would it be a loose ground somwhere along the line?

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


Not a loose ground, but maybe a missing hot or neutral.
Look at the last working receptacle and the frist nonworking receptacle.

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Old 11-23-2010, 05:08 PM   #3
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


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Not a loose ground, but maybe a missing hot or neutral.
Look at the last working receptacle and the frist nonworking receptacle.
The only two things working on the circuit are two overhead lights. I pulled both lights and double checked the wiring and replaced wire nuts. It had no effect. It's virtually impossible for me to determine how teh wires were routed in the house without tearing out walls. I'm not sure what receptical is the first dead one. I looked at them all and didn't notice any issues.

Now here is where it gets weird. We had kind of given up and my dad shuts the door to the breaker box and the dead lights come back on! WTH? Is there a lose wire in the box? I flipped the breaker and then flipped it back on and the lights never came back on So back to square one. I pulled the cover off the box and checked the hot connection to each breaker. All good. I then checked all the nuetral connections and they also seem fine. I then pulled the hot off the current breaker and moved it to an adjacent 15amp breaker to test of indeed the 15 amp breaker was bad. Still had the same problem with the lights so I think that ruled the breaker out as the culprit.

Something about slamming that box door shut made the lights come back on. They unfortunately never came back on once I flipped the breaker switch on/off. And I slammed the door shut again and can not get the lights to come back on at all now.

Whats going on? If it wasn't for the two lights remaining on I'd swear it was an issue inside the panel box but I'm stumped.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


The key word you mention that your papa slam the breaker door then it mean you may have bad breaker connecton on bussbar this part you have to becarefull.

What brand breaker box you have there once I know which one you have then I can able give you the correct way to trobleshooting and by the way is any other lights or receptales are not working beside this one ??

Merci.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:46 PM   #5
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


Federal pacific most likey....
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


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The key word you mention that your papa slam the breaker door then it mean you may have bad breaker connecton on bussbar this part you have to becarefull.

What brand breaker box you have there once I know which one you have then I can able give you the correct way to trobleshooting and by the way is any other lights or receptales are not working beside this one ??

Merci.
Marc
Thank you. The breakers say "Bryant" on them which I beleive are Cutler-Hammer BR style. The house is about 40 years old.

There are a number of lights and electrical outlets on this circuit. Off the top of my head I'd guess 5 outlets and 4 ceiling lights total. The only thing working are 2 ceiling lights. (so basically 2 lights and all 5 outlets are not working).

As I mentioned above I moved the hot feed off the questionable breaker onto an ajacent breaker that is fully functioing and nothing changed. I still had the problem.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:16 PM   #7
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


Gotcha.

Ok this part you will have to take the breaker box cover off and retighten the netural connections to make sure they are not loose and if you do see any burnt or overheated connection clip off the bad one and find a empty slot and reinstall it.

As far for the breaker it should snap in pretty firm not like very soft like soft click you know what I mean ?

And check the clip on the bussbar side of breaker if you see any burnt mark just get new breaker and put it in diffrent location for time being unless there is other damage there.

Merci.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:23 AM   #8
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Some things not working on a circuit while others are?


I went back over last night and checked the neutral connections and everything was tight and secure. In the meantime, an electrician friend of my brother-in-laws came over and started troubleshooting. He went through several tests at the box and began tracing. He tested for voltage at each outlet and got nothing. However, when he disconnected the neutral wire from the breaker he then would get a reading of 115V at each outlet. He also tried disconnecting the hot and neutral from the breaker and backfeeding a non-working outlet from an existing working outlet on another circuit. That caused all of the non-working outlets/lights to light up. The two lights that previously worked under the questionable breaker no longer would light up. We tried to determine where the wires ran that connected the working to non-working outlets. My dads house has very inaccessable attic space and it was difficult to find under all the insulation. He was tugging on the wire that exited the box on the bad circuit when the lights all came back on. By that time it was well past midnight. So with all the lights working we packed up and called it a night. But it appears that there may be a staple or something causing a problem with the circuit feed in the attic. This also explains why the lights came back on when my dad shut the breaker box door.

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